Features Research Archives

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Aberdeen US Army Ordinance Museum, Aberdeen PRV GRD, MD

• CATEGORIES: Features, Museums

Continuing with our museum series, Bill Maloney has captured a couple pics of this nicely restored 1943 GPW.

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1946? CJ-2A Millsboro, De **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A, Features, Unusual, Wood bodies • TAGS: .

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay.

(06/29/2010) The serial number of 130476 suggests this is a 1947 rather than a 1946.

“This is a ONE OF A KIND Vehicle.  Its a 1946 CJ-2A Willy Jeep.  It is tagged In Delaware as an antique vehicle.  The body is handmade wood.  It is the perfect vehicle for the beach.  V-6 with extra transfer case and extra transmission.  Tow bar so it can be towed behind your RV.  In and out Locking Hubs.  Sucicde Doors .  Clear Title.  Also log book of all work done and dates from original owner.  Selling for a friend.  Seller has the right to refuse sale and end auction at any time sitting for sale out side of residence.  This is One of a Kind vehicle.”

Continue reading

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Beer Can Flattie (and others)

• CATEGORIES: Features, Models

UPDATE:  Lylito pointed out that more information about these models and their New Zealand designer, Sandy Sanderson, can be read here.  Plans are available, too.  Jalopnik has also did a story about Sandy that includes details of the original drawings.

Randy forwarded me these amazing models.  I’ve got more pics of the others and will forward them as an email.

Here are some other models (again, I have more pics of these if you are interested.

Keywords: Aluminum Cans; Beer Cans;


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Cadillac Ranch Motorsports

• CATEGORIES: Features, News

When I was a kid, jeep play/race days were held all over the Pacific Northwest.  Whether at the sand dunes, in the forest, under some powerlines, in a boggy area of Everett or at an ORV park, it seemed the places a club could sponsor a playday were unlimited. For a variety of reasons, those days have passed and options for holding 4×4 events are limited.

This is why I was surprised to see a new area that allows some PNW racing (and motorcycle, trucks and atvs as well) called Cadillac Ranch MotorSports.  From the website, “Cadillac Ranch Motorsports was started by three brothers who had some unused land that they decided to turn into a destination for excitement. Bring your ATV, motorbike, or truck to our track for a day of outdoor fun.”  Check out some sprint racing pics here and some cross country pics here.

From the pics I saw on the website, a few friends and readers have already ventured down for some their outdoor fun, though I haven’t heard any feedback thus far.  Even better, it’s only a stone’s throw from my sister’s place in McKenna, so I’ll have to swing by and check it out!

Here are some images from the Cadillac Ranch Motorsports website. This image shows the area in general, which looks great for spectating — you can see an entire run.

This is a pic from a sprint race:

And here are a couple pics from what I assume is a cross country course of some type.  In the second pic you can see there is a pretty good line of racers ready to take their turn.

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Some Updates …

• CATEGORIES: Biscuit, Builds, Features

For the Fourth of July, I celebrated by heading back to the formerly snow bound roads near Boise’ only ski area, Bogus Basin.  As you can see in this pic, the snow is gone (see snow pics here), the mountains are now in bloom, and more progress was made.  More on that tomorrow ….

A 1950 CJ-3A: Today, Darrel had to talk to me.  So he stopped next to me, while I waited at a stop light, rolled down his window, and started asking me questions — what year was my jeep, who did my roll cage, and more …

Now, I had no idea who Darrel was.  However, in the time it took for the stop light to finally change colors, Darrel had explained through his passenger side window that he A) liked what I had built, B) had a 1950 CJ-3A, C) wanted his jeep rebuilt for his daughter, D) had his jeep nearby, and E) wanted me to follow him there.  If I learned that much at a stop light, I wondered how much I would learn about him once we stopped to see his jeep.

True to his word, he lived very close and had a 1950 CJ-3A that needed some work — hadn’t been run in 15 years.  It had a V-8 conversion, solid body, rotted top and plenty of potential.  And, to my surprise, based on my jeep, he asked me to do the work (and will pay me). I don’t have pics of this just yet.  I’ll share more about this if we go forward with the project.

Brian wrote to me late last week to share a sad tale.  As a part of the continued testing with his new build, he learned the hard way what happens if the oil in the front pumpkin housing gets too low AND the 4wd somehow gets accidentally shifted into gear (how that happened is still a mystery to him).  The result:  his front pinion started freezing up, resulting in some ugly sounds and a twisted driveline. See the pics to the right.

The good news is that everything else continues to behave well.

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1973 CJ-5 Super Jeep Battle Creek, MI **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: CJ5, Features • TAGS: , .

UPDATE:**SOLD** Was $15,000.

Wes found this unusual, old school CJ-5 for sale at the Great Lakes Forum.

“1973 Super Jeep RARE BARN FIND 1 OWNER ,All the papers and doc.360 front and rear dana 44, 28,960.0 original miles Bought new and raced by factory employee.At the jeep proving grounds. Just very cool piece of history.check this out.$15,000. Or Make me a offer.”

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I found this on Flickr ..

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual, Willys Wagons

My question: is all this stuff keeping this old willys truck together?

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Upgrading a Single Master Cylinder into a Dual set up

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features

A reader ask me about replacing the stock single brake master cylinder, found on many early jeeps,  for a dual master cylinder.  Can it be done?  It turns out there a variety of threads and pages on this alteration.  Here are some of the links I found if you are interested in this mod.

1) http://www.thecj2apage.com/forums/dual-master-cylinder_topic14193.html
2) http://www.earlycj5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=45099
3) http://cj3b.info/Tech/BrakesDualMaster.html
4) Herm’s conversion kit: http://www.hermtheoverdriveguy.com/id2_dual_reservoir_master_cylinder.htm


(Image from the CJ-2A Page)

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Usual Car/Jeep Custom Project

• CATEGORIES: Features, Sedan-jeep, Unusual • TAGS: , .

I ran across this today at the Jeep Forum.  Posted last year, someone was trying to identify it.  This is the closest thing I have seen to a Wally Cohn Jeep.

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Gerald’s First Jeep — a $60 Commando

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features, Jeepster

A reader had mentioned at some point about a modification that involved replacing the front clip of a Commando with a CJ-5 front clip.  I asked for pictures and Gerald produced some from the first jeep he owned.  I really like the looks of the CJ-5 front clip on it.

He writes, “Since you are talking Jeepsters, this was my first ride.  I bought it for   60 bucks in October of 1979.  That means it was only 11 years old; yet look how rough it was.  Compare that to a 99 vehicle today.  Vehicles have certainly improved.  Anyway,  I though I was the shit at 14 with my own jeep.”

We got her going with another axle, tiger hair and spray can red from K-Mart. Dad would take it to the trail and then I could drive.

Then at 18 came the lift, new body panels and paint.  I had to knock the corners off the grille and put a CJ-5 Hood on it.

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Unusual CJ-5 Rear Seat Mod

• CATEGORIES: CJ5, Features

I was on my way to Jalopy Jungle (got some new springs — but that write-up must wait) in Nampa when I passed by this CJ-5 sitting outside an auto salvage shop in Meridian.  As soon as I saw it, I made a quick u-turn and snapped some pics.  The CJ-5 itself appears in stock condition with a solid body and no engine. There was no for sale sign and am not sure what it being done to it.

The rear seat itself it something I’ve never seen.  The tail gate still works and there is storage area under the back seat.

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The Commando C104

• CATEGORIES: Features, Jeepster

A reader had asked me about the use of Inline 6s on early Jeepsters, so I found the answer on Wikipedia.  I left the page open while I went to lunch and when i came back, I noticed something I hadn’t notice earlier, a picture of the Commando C104 and it’s unusual grille.  I was used to seeing the Commando with the standard jeep/tines grille.  But, the 20,000 or so C104s that were built have a full-size grille that, at first glance, looked to me like it was borrowed from a Bronco.

Anyway, maybe you all knew this, but it was a surprise to me.  Below are some pics that show the evolution of the front of a Jeepster/Commando.

1948 2WD 4 cyl Willys Jeepster (aka VJ-2):

1949 2WD 4 & 6 cyl Willys Jeepster (aka VJ-3):

1950 2WD 4cyl & 6cyl Willys Jeepster (1951 Jeepsters are left overs from the 1950 production year).  These were also known as the VJ-3 463 (4cyl) and VJ-3 663 (6cyl) for part of the year and then the model was changed to VJ-473 (4cyl)  and VJ-673 (6cyl):

1966-1971 Kaiser Jeep’s “Jeepster Commando” Model C-101 (4wd).  There were several different models, but they all appear to have the same front as best as I can tell.

2 1972 Commando C-104s:  The top Commando has a chromed front and the bottom Commando’s front has been modified (and is for sale now).

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Some Great Old Photos at JpZombie.com

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

At JpZombie.com, Casey has uploaded 20 images from the late 40s / early 50s.  Several of the images have also been loaded at the earlycj5.com website and a thread has popped up around them. A video was also uploaded (see below) that shows early color footage of the Yakima Ridge Runners (from Yakima, Washington) playing in what appears to be the Little Naches River and shows them traveling over the Naches Trail (you can also see video excerpts from Exploration Northwest which discusses the trail).

Below is a small version of one of the pics at JpZombie.  In this pic, you can see on the sign ‘Wally Klingele’, who was one of the founding members of the Ridge Runners.  Some of the pics at JpZombie appear to be pics capturing the Life Magazine Folks who put together these classic videos (ridge runner video 1 & ridge runner video 2).

This is also courtesy of JpZombie.com via Youtube:


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Willys Sporting Tracks

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual, videos • TAGS: .

Doug suggested I do a search at Youtube on “Willys  Jeep  Tracks”.  I found two interesting videos.

In this video, a CJ-2A is fitted with tracks, one track on each side.

In this video, a jeep wrangler is fitted with tracks on each wheel

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Bill Mauldin Stamp

• CATEGORIES: Artists/Drawings, Features • TAGS: .

Randy forwarded me an announcement that Bill Mauldin has been honored with a stamp, shown below.

According to the email Randy sent me, “Mauldin, and his work,  meant much to the millions of Americans who fought in World War II, and  to those who had waited for them to come home. He was a kid cartoonist for  Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper; Mauldin’s drawings of his muddy,  exhausted, whisker-stubbled infantrymen Willie and Joe were the voice of  truth about what it was like on the front lines.”

Click on this link to see the Mauldin Cartoons I gathered from the web with jeeps in them for a previous post.

Here is a pic of the stamp, followed by Mauldin in a jeep.

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Tucker #57 — The Tucker Convertible

• CATEGORIES: Features

Long time readers know that ever since seeing the movie Tucker: The Man and His Dream I’ve been a fan of the Tucker automobile.  What I didn’t know was that in early January of 2010 a Tucker Convertible was finally completed after years of sitting as a pile of parts.  It turns out there was plenty of controversy surrounding this convertible, specifically was it really a Tucker or simply a Tucker look-a-like built from left over parts. You can read some history of the Tucker and the Convertible here.

Well, after much discussion, enough information has been unearthed to assure most people (can’t make everyone happy) that Tucker had been working on a convertible when the company was forced into bankruptcy and was labeled Tucker #57.  Though it took multiple people and 60 years,  Benchmark Classics, near Madison, Wi (a place I used to call home) finally has put this beauty together (restoration images).

Here are an image and a video:


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Year? CJ-2A Jamul, CA **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A, Features, Fire/Police/Industry Vehicles, Unusual • TAGS: , .

UPDATE: Was $600. **SOLD**

“Willys Jeep. 49-51 Willys Jeep CJ-l. Customer fiberglass cab. Local San Diego Truc, 4cly, 4SP, P.T.O- 4WD. All there, Black plates, Not running. Project, lots of potential. Former Glass Truck. RARE- No paperwork. $600 OBO.”

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A Willys of Frankenstinian Proportions $1500 (OD)

• CATEGORIES: Features, GPW (Ford MB), Unusual • TAGS: .

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $1500.

On a trip to Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho, Dan discovered this unusual project.   Underneath all the modifications is a 1943 GPW.  What’s amazing to me is that, all things considered, it doesn’t look all that bad.  Someone certainly cobbled together a variety of vehicles, along with a healthy supply of diamond plating to keep this vehicle on the road.  No doubt it was better than sporting a soft top in cold weather.

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Custom Truck Bumper

• CATEGORIES: Features, Willys Trucks, Willys Wagons

Steve was wondering if any readers knew anything about this aftermarket bumper found on some trucks (I’ll have to look back at some other images, but I know I’ve seen this or something similar on other trucks). I guess it is time to add a ‘bumper mod’ section to the modifications area.

Steve writes, “I Have the following wagon bumper and wondered if anyone knew anything about it?   The tag says Ricks Trailer Works, 2003 East Van Buren Street, Phoenix, Arizona.   I used to see these on a few wagons, but haven’t in quite a while.  My wagon with this came out of Utah.   It looks like a nice practical bumper, but haven’t decided how to use it yet.  Thought it might be a modification people find interesting.”

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Dually Adapter and the Dually Section

• CATEGORIES: Features, Parts • TAGS: .

UPDATE:  Steve found a 2nd patent for an alternative Dually system.    I’ve moved both Dually patent information to the New Dually Page.

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Builds: Kurtis finds Ike and starts a restoration

• CATEGORIES: Builds, CJ-3A, Features

In early April of 2010, Kurtis found a solid looking, stock 1950 CJ-3A named Ike that he plans to restore to off-the-dealer-floor condition.  He’s built a website (http://kurtisfranklin.com/blog/) to chronicle his restoration adventures and recently provided some good details on a V-Cell Radiator.

Good luck on your restoration Kurtis; I think it will turn out well!  Here’s a pic of Ike:

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JeepGod’s Jeep Manufacturers List

• CATEGORIES: Features, Website

I ran across JeepGod’s website today.  There’s a variety of interesting tidbits on the site, including an inexpensive solution for an air compressor, a nicely drawn out map for navigating Uwharrie National Forest in North Carolina, and the below list of Jeep Manufacturers, which provides some details into the specific companies that manufactured the vehicles we generally describe as Jeep or Willys.  I hadn’t thought of organizing a list quite like this, so I thought I’d highlight it for readers. It’s certainly not an exhaustive list, as there’s no FC-170 listed, but that’s a minor quibble I think.

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Jeep Cakes!

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

Who knows why I search for the things I do sometimes, but for some reason I had the urge to search for Jeep Cakes.  Now, I rarely eat cakes of any kind; however, I thought this might provide some interesting search results and pictures.  So, below are a few of my results.  If this list isn’t long enough, search here for more.

First, I’ll start off with a cake I was presented with on my birthday back in 2003 — my 2nd ex-wife (yes, I might need a scorecard to start tracking my relationships) and her mother transferred one of my favorite images onto a birthday cake.

Here’s one with a roll cage from CarriesCakes.com

Here’s a cake with a ‘jeep’ on a hill:

This cake ‘rocks’:

This is called the Jeep Adventure Cake:

According to the description, this cake is “an army jeep cake, fondant covered with gum paste accessories. the hill is another layer of cake as well, buttercream-covered with cookie crumbs on top”

Here’s a $195 cake from Oksuguar.com:

This driver and his faithful dog appear headed into the waves:

From dreamcakesjc.com we have another ‘flattie’:

And finally, from the UK courtesy of Sara Cakes, we have this army jeep (categorized as a grand dad cake no less ..hmmm). It even has tools on the sides!

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Builds: Phase 1 of “Her Royal Highness” Complete

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features

Late last year Mark took the plunge and bought himself a Jeepster project.  After about 6 months, he has completed phase 1 of the project, has learned his Willys isn’t 100% Willys,  and, as you can see, is enjoying his efforts now that Spring is fully here.  Thanks for sharing!

Mark writes, “I completed phase one last night when I closed the gaping hole in the firewall caused by an incomplete Chevy V8 conversion long long ago, so now my Jeepster may be eligible to be honored on your site. I was going to name her “Cheapster Jeepster” due to my desire to spend less money than a new vehicle, but after falling in love with my Willys I christened it “Her Royal Highness” and I’ve still only got $4200 bucks invested so far. I got her up to 60mph and drove 75 miles straight with no problems.

Purchased her on Halloween Day 2009 and quickly found out she wasn’t all Willys. She’s a ’48 Jeepster body set on a ’49 4wd Station Wagon chassis & floorboard. It has got a 1956 Chevy 265 V8, Lockheed hydraulic clutch, 1955 Ford F-100 rear brakes and MC, John Deere tractor fuel pump and a Caterpillar temp gauge. The gauge cluster is from a M38 and the gas tank, mounted behind the back seat, is from a 1958 Dodge pickup. And those are just the parts I’ve been able to identify so far.

Phase 1 seemed like a simple task: Start, Stop and roll down the road without leaking out all its fluids, make her safe and legal and do all this without knowing jack about restoring a 60 year old automobile. It’s been a lot of fun and a real stress reliever for me.

-new complete brake system
-new complete suspension front & back
-new fuel line setup
-new wireing harness and firewall rebuild
-clean & paint interior
-fluid change and tuneup

Oh, and of course phase 1 couldn’t be complete without…….cup holders.

Much thanks to your site, I get lot’s of great ideas looking at all the other builds you profile and just knowing I’m not the only crazy, insane Willys addict gives me great comfort. Although I’ve seen other Jeepster 4wd conversions on your site I haven’t seen one that used another Willys to make the jump. I’ll keep you posted on Phase II (Body/interior & drive train improvements).

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How the Walkman Changed Our Music Habits

• CATEGORIES: Features

This has nothing to do with willys, jeeps, 4x4s.  Actually, it has little to do with anything …..

Regular readers will likely remember my post (perhaps memorial is a better term) about C.W.McCall’s Wolf Creek Pass.  After re-reading that post, it seems my prose zig-zagged across topics so far and so wide, that to call it a cohesive post would be a kind and generous gift from readers; However, I would never let a lack of cohesiveness stop my good intentions nor keep me from attempting, because to say I attempt is fair, but to say I always succeed would be too generous, to entertain readers!

So, where am I going with this?  It seems nowhere fast, so let’s get to it already!  In the aforementioned post, one of the topics I cover was my own audiophile history, or the lack thereof, particularly my first experience with my cousin’s Walkman II.  While I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the Walkman II, I knew very little about the history of the original Walkman until I ran across a fabulous post, Quiet Revolution, at the Rhapsody blog.

Now, as readers are already painfully aware, I am no audiophile, but I am certainly a history buff.  And in the Rhapsody post Quiet Revolution, Tim Quirk constructs a fascinating slice of audio history and tells a strongly argued story of how the Walkman was the real game changer for how most of us listen to music.

Some highlights:

1) The original Sony Walkman, launched in 1979, came with an orange button and two headphone connections.  Why?  Because, of course, no one would want to listen to music by themselves!  And the orange button lowered the music with a simple click so that you could communicate with a friend (see images from the ad campaign below and contrast that with the solitary, almost non human, solitary dancers from today’s ipod ads)!

2) The stereobelt was invented in 1972 by Andreas Pavel, but was rejected by electronic companies because executives at the electronic companies argued that people would not want to run around with headphones.

3) Almost 40% of Guns N’ Roses fans also listen to Tim McGraw. Nearly as many listen to Kenny Chesney or Garth Brooks. How many radio stations play all four?  That’s the essence of the choice these devices have provided.

Some of the Walkman’s original ads …

Ipod Ads: